At any time of the day, tour coaches, open-roof, and double-decker buses fill the streets of Las Vegas. These tour buses transport hundreds of passengers every day to their tourist destinations, whether that be their hotel, casinos, or shops. Passengers normally do not have to worry about getting into an accident while on a bus, but these unfortunate accidents can and do happen.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 65,000 bus accidents in 2018. That amounts to 178 bus accidents a day, causing untold suffering to victims throughout the United States. According to a preliminary report, Nevada has seen a total of 173 bus crashes since the beginning of the year. Nine of those crashes have been fatal.
Many types of buses, especially tour buses, do not have a lap or shoulder belt to prevent passengers from being thrown around the interior of the bus during a crash. Though the driver’s seats in these vehicles are required to have seatbelts by law, federal law does not require seatbelts for passengers. Because of this, riders are at a greater risk of being seriously injured or killed than they would be with seatbelts.
Our legal system has a mechanism in place to ensure that the costs of bus crashes fall on those responsible, not the innocent passengers and their families. An injury that occurs while an individual is using bus transportation may entitle that person and/or their dependents and family members to compensation.
Causes of Bus Accidents
There are many reasons why a bus might be involved in a traffic collision. Some of the most common causes of bus accidents are:
- Faulty or defective equipment – Proper maintenance ensures that buses remain a safe mode of transportation, but some bus companies fail to make the repairs necessary or in a timely manner. This leads to malfunctions that can cause collisions.
- Bus driver fatigue – There are federal regulations in place to prevent bus drivers from working long hours without rest, in order to avoid these types of accidents. Drivers who violate the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations can be held accountable for any damages or harm they cause by falling asleep at the wheel.
- Bus driver inattention – Bus drivers often have the challenging task of monitoring their passengers while also focusing on the road. Drivers who become distracted by passengers or who illegally talk or text on their cell phones while driving can put their passengers in harm’s way.
- Lack of experience – Bus companies should properly vet, train, and supervise their drivers. Drivers who lack the experience to operate in areas they are not familiar with can lead to collisions.
Tour buses are a common way to transport large amounts of people around Las Vegas. Some run daily, weekly, or monthly and arrive from faraway states and cities to bring their passengers to the wonderful world of Las Vegas. Many of these buses are especially prone to accidents caused by driver fatigue or maintenance issues. Due to the long distances, these buses experience more extreme wear and tear. Not every private company can keep up with the cost of maintaining their vehicles.
What To Do When an Accident Happens
As soon as it is safe to do so, call for medical attention for you and your loved ones. Even if you feel fine, adrenaline can prevent you from realizing you are injured. In a non-emergency situation, any victim must see a physician for a comprehensive evaluation, especially tests for head, back, and spinal injuries. While tour buses can absorb a lot of the impact, they often have no seatbelts or other safety features found in modern cars. Bus passengers can sustain injuries without safety protection.
Remember to receive a completed medical report from your doctor. This will help your case when your lawyer defends your need for compensation.
Your next step should be to contact a reputable attorney in the Las Vegas area with expertise in handling bus accident cases. Under Nevada law, parties found at fault for the accident can be held legally liable for any resulting damages. This law has major consequences for how fault is determined and how liability is divided among the parties at fault. Nevada is also a comparative negligence jurisdiction, meaning it is possible for multiple parties to split the liability for the same accident. It is important that you work with an experienced Las Vegas attorney to protect you from an unfair share of the fault so you can be compensated for your injuries.
There are many regulations specific to tour buses and bus companies. They can be complex and difficult to understand on your own. An experienced accident attorney will be able to determine how these regulations may apply to your case and guide you through each step.
In accident claims, bus companies are almost always represented by their insurance companies. For accident victims, this means you will need to be prepared to handle the company’s insurance adjusters. Unfortunately, insurers are not on your side. Big insurance companies tend to only look out for their bottom line. If they can find a way to lessen your settlement offer, they will take it. Insurance adjusters may also use anything you say about the crash or your recovery against you. Let your attorney speak for you and do not sign anything without their approval.
Common Injuries in Bus Accidents
Compared to other motor vehicle accidents, bus accidents tend to be rarer. However, when bus collisions do occur, the injuries can be severe. When a bus accident occurs, some of the common injuries are:
- Broken bones – It is common for victims to suffer broken bones due to the impact of the accident. Unlike modern passenger vehicles, buses are not required by law to have seatbelts for their riders. When a bus collision occurs, passengers may fall to the floor or collide with the bus walls. This could lead to fractures, from complex crushing injuries to broken bones. Broken bones may call for surgery to correct the injury and may lead to permanent disability for the victim.
- Cuts and Lacerations – Buses have glass windows, and in the case of an accident, the glass can smash and end up injuring passengers. Sharp metal benches or parts of the benches may cause severe cuts to victims. These deep cuts and lacerations can lead to excessive blood loss and tissue damage. They also risk becoming infected, which can be deadly if left untreated.
- Spinal Cord and Head Injuries – Most bus accidents involve extreme forces. These forces can make a rider’s head smash into the seat or whip around violently. Many bus accident victims suffer from blunt force trauma after the collision. This trauma can lead to severe traumatic brain injuries, whiplash, and spinal cord injuries. Victims could face a lifetime of permanent paralysis and disabilities.
- Internal Injuries – When the body absorbs the impact of a bus accident, internal injuries can occur. Some of the most common internal injuries of bus collision victims include internal hemorrhaging, kidney damage, punctured lungs, and liver lacerations. Internal injuries can become fatal if not treated immediately.
It is important to get medical attention after a bus accident. A completed medical report from your doctor could help you in your case against the bus company. The severity of the injuries can also help determine the compensation you are owed. An experienced bus accident attorney can help ensure you received the appropriate medical care and are compensated for your time and injuries.
Compensation For Injured Victims
Bus companies have the highest duty of ensuring the safety of their passengers. Depending on the nature of your or your loved ones’ injuries due to a bus accident, your attorney may identify possible claims for medical expenses, life care expenses, pain and suffering, and more. In some cases, punitive damages might be available. Punitive damages can be recovered to punish a company when it is established through clear and convincing evidence that the company engaged in malicious conduct.
Recovering full compensation can be challenging, however. Even small mistakes or delays can significantly affect your ability to obtain a full settlement offer. Experienced bus accident lawyers can help you determine the types of damages you are entitled to. The extent of those damages also depends on the circumstances of the accident. It is in your best interest to contact an expert bus accident attorney for assistance in determining claims and damages.
At Dimopoulos Injury Law, our attorneys have experience in representing victims of bus accidents. We’ve won our clients millions of dollars in personal injury cases. Take legal action against the bus company that wronged you today. Call us for a free consultation at 702-766-7243. You don’t pay us anything until we win your case!